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Cars & Driving
I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By twinkletoes08member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2082, member since Tue Feb 18, 2003
On Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:55 PM
Edited by twinkletoes08 (57176) on 2012-08-06 12:57:07

Hello, drivers! I'm just wondering; can anybody give me any advice or tips on my first driving lesson? I'm so nervous, yet excited at the same time now it's booked! I put driving off for a whole year because I was scared, but it's got to a point where I do NEED a licence to be able to work now.

I've never driven a car, and I really don't know what to expect! I'm going in a manual car, if that makes it better for anyone for advice! I looked my driving instructor up, and all his students have been first time passes, so that's made me more confident in him. I'm dreading if there's going to be any awkward silences, I never know what to say in them!

Thanks in advance!

Beth :)

12 Replies to I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...

re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Mon Aug 06, 2012 07:15 PM
They normally drive you to a quiet area, unless you live in one already, they'll explain all the controls to you, and then you will pull away. First few lessons you'll mainly stick to doing a lap of a short route, left hand turns only, hitting the dizzy heights of about 25mph tops. You'll pull over regularly for him to give you more advice, but as you get better you'll drive more and stop less and then obviously do more complicated stuff. He'll have dual controls (clutch and brake) so he'll be able to stop the car if necessary, or be able to sort the gear for you if you've done it wrong in any way. If he depresses on of his pedals yours will go down too, so don't be surprised if that happens. If he grabs the wheel to realign your line, don't let it go! Don't fight him but keep your hands on the wheel because 9 times out of ten he'll only be making a small adjustment, not taking over completely.

I was TERRIFIED of learning to drive, put it off until I was 23 or so, and even then I made loads of excuses and whined and gave up temporarily and so on. Passed first time eventually, so well done for biting the bullet. It's not THAT hard, honestly. Loads of idiots can drive :P

If there's a period of silence, that's fine. It's never an awkward silence unless one of you has just farted or told a terrible joke. You're meant to be concentrating on the road, not talking constantly. For most of your first lessons he'll be instructing you most of the time - occasionally instructors ask you to explain what you're doing while you're doing it. Like he'll tell you to take the next left, so you explain that you're checking your rear and left mirror, indicating, braking, checking mirrors, looking into the road you're about to turn into, etc. Just their way of checking you know what you're meant to be doing. When you get better and need minimal correction all the time, you'll start talking about nonsense. My instructor asked why I'd stopped once, and I said the traffic light had gone red. She'd not even noticed as she'd just seen a house for sale and was looking at it as we went past - quite flattering as she was confident enough in me at that point to not be on constant alert. She told me to book my test that day :)

Luck!
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By Lauretta Comments: 1048, member since Wed Dec 01, 2004
On Mon Aug 06, 2012 07:20 PM
I passed my driving test in December of last year, my advice would be to learn at your pace - don't worry about what your friends did, or where your instructor's other students are, stressing that you are learning slower than you wanted is not going to help. I don't know if you have access to a car to do private practice, but if you do then make sure that it helps and not hinders you. I made the mistake of going out with someone who doesn't have any patience and also has bad habits (he never signals, even when it would clearly benefit another road user or a pedestrian) and this undoubtedly set me back. Better to pay for more lessons with your instructor than risk going out with someone who is not going to be supportive in my opinion.

I also highly doubt that ALL of your instructor's pupils have been first time passes, so that in itself makes me want to tell you to be very aware for other examples of bad tuition from your instructor. How long has he been teaching? What grade did he get in his last check test? Don't feel like you have to stick with this guy if he turns out not to be so good or if you don't develop a rapport - you're going to be in a car with him alone for quite a few hours so if you don't get on with him then don't be afraid to switch.

As for what to expect, your instructor should show you the controls and then drive you to a quiet area where you'll take the controls. The first time I drove a car I had the overwhelming feeling of "OH MY GOD I AM OUT OF CONTROL!!!" even though I was on a flat road and I was in control of the car for all of 5 seconds. That feeling should pass quite quickly if you get it. Just pay attention to everything your instructor says, ask for copies of any progress reports he fills in so that your parents or anyone else who might want to help you knows where you are at. And don't worry about silences, concentrate on your driving and then if you get to a point where there's something to say then by all means say it. It took me quite a while before I had the necessary skill to talk and drive, your instructor will understand.

Most of all, try to enjoy it. Being able to drive will give you so much freedom, but not if you have talked yourself into being scared of it all.
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6359, member since Thu Jul 12, 2007
On Mon Aug 06, 2012 07:37 PM
Good advice above. While you are learning to drive, also learn how to navigate. That means map reading skills for your area if you don't have them already. Even a GPS makes more sense if you know maps.

When my kids learned to drive (that was 30 years ago) at our insistence, they did pass on a standard transmission the first time. They passed at the minimum age. My daughter, particularly, realized that all the time she rode with us, she never paid much attention to how we got to the places we were going. "Daddy, I want to go to the mall (about 8-10 miles away, there are none in our village) and I don't know how to get there." Actually I think the dear girl could smell a mall from five miles distance, LOL. She of course did learn. The summer after she got her license she and her brother, a year older, did drive 1000 miles to their summer jobs at a store owned by their aunt's family. That involved driving through two major cities...Chicago and Milwaukee and cross country from the Washington DC area through six states.

My daughter, now a teacher, includes a street map unit for map skills when she teaches US Geography in her elementary school class.

Jon
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By DaDancingPsych Comments: 3092, member since Wed Dec 18, 2002
On Mon Aug 06, 2012 08:03 PM
I was a "too scared to drive" person and ended up not getting my license until later than my peers. My advantage to learning to drive was that I took it very seriously. This meant that I was not overly cocky or unwilling to listen and learn.

My first tip is to breathe. Just try to relax and keep your head clear. If you are worrying yourself sick, then you are going to find it difficult to learn.

Do not be afraid to communicate with your instructor. Let him/her know that you are a bit anxious and have never been behind the wheel before. And do not be afraid to ask questions when necessary.

No need to drive fast or push the process. With confidence, your speed will increase and for some of us, it simply takes longer. There is no harm in being a cautious driver!

I soon realized that a lot of my dancing skills actually carried over to driving. It is mainly a lot of sense of timing and spacial awareness. I think that you will find this true, too!

Good luck!!!
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By twinkletoes08member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2082, member since Tue Feb 18, 2003
On Tue Aug 07, 2012 08:18 PM
Thank you for all your super speedy replies!

Firstly, they have all made me a little bit more relaxed. It's nice to know how supportive you all are!

I'm not very good with maps and coordination, which is why I'm a little nervous. But hopefully it'll all pick up in time. I keep reading the highway code too; I'll get there! ;)

I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes!
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By adageacemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3982, member since Thu Sep 01, 2005
On Tue Aug 07, 2012 09:47 PM
You won't need to worry about maps for a good while yet. To begin with, your instructor will talk you through exactly where he wants you to go. Later on in your lessons, he'll probably start giving you fewer explicit directions and expecting you to follow road signs and markings for yourself. Towards the end, my instructor would just tell me the destination if we were driving along a stretch of road he knew I was familiar with!

As for coordination, it takes a little bit of concentration at first, especially in a manual car, but you spend your early lessons getting a LOT of practice at pulling away and stopping ;) So it'll soon become second nature :)
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By twinkletoes08member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2082, member since Tue Feb 18, 2003
On Thu Aug 09, 2012 04:34 PM
eeeeeee! Guys, it was really good! I really enjoyed myself, and was SO glad I did it! I was about to cancel my lesson this morning, but then realised I'd never do it if i cancelled!

So, he picked me up at 1. I did 13 miles of independent driving! For my first ever time, I thought that was pretty decent! I didn't stall either, which surprised me! That may have been him helping me, but he told me he was going to tell me when he was using his controls, and he didn't tell me that he was using them, so who knows!

I had to go up a bit of a hill; didn't really like that, and he helped me with the clutch!

Asked questions, and he asked me questions. We just had normal chats too, which was really lovely. He used to teach my ex boyfriend, and my cousin so we were able to talk about old times.

I have 10 lessons booked, my next one being Saturday! yay!
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6359, member since Thu Jul 12, 2007
On Thu Aug 09, 2012 04:55 PM
Congratulations...next thing you know you'll be taking flying lessons (one of my unfulfilled dreams and now I'm medically disqualified from ever doing it.)

Good going on the manual transmission a skill far more essential in Europe than in the USA were now virtually all cars are automatic transmission. I learned on a stick which was the norm at the time. I occasionally have to drive a manual transmission when I travel or when I borrow a friend's pick up truck.

This subject came up last month and I made a post on it. Go to this link:

www.dance.net . . .

And scroll down to the posting I made which has a cartoon strip on the subject from a few years ago.

Jon
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By twinkletoes08member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2082, member since Tue Feb 18, 2003
On Thu Aug 09, 2012 05:50 PM
I looked at that just before my lesson! I was thinking of it the whole time; mentioned it to my driving instructor too! He agreed with it, haha!

Oh no! That's not very good :( you'll have to find something else supercool to do!
Yeah, we don't have many automatic cars; my mum is automatic and she told me to go manual!

Thanks for everybody's lovely advice! It's very appreciated!
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By schuhplattlerPremium member Comments: 3037, member since Sat Dec 23, 2006
On Thu Aug 09, 2012 09:16 PM
Congratulations! You are on your way!
www.youtube.com . . .
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By twinkletoes08member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2082, member since Tue Feb 18, 2003
On Sat Aug 11, 2012 09:19 PM
Thank you very much! I had my second lesson today, and I drove around 30 miles, which was good fun! Got a little bit nervous at reversing, but it was all okay!

I pick my car up tomorrow! A little corsa! :)
re: I have my first driving lesson on Thursday...
By kellyl0907 Comments: 24, member since Thu Aug 09, 2012
On Wed Aug 15, 2012 09:47 PM
My daughter is just starting as well. I let her drive all the time. Take your time, stay aware of your surroundings and always check and double check before you go into oncoming traffic.

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